A new study that analyzed the number of inmates that have either faced the death penalty or are sentenced to death in the next year suggests that America experiences a new low in over 40 years when it comes to prosecutors seeking the capital punishment. According to the paper, only three individuals died because of their crimes in 2016 in Alabama, a new record in nearly 40 years. Moreover, the Death Penalty Information Center says that the decline seems to mirror a national trend.
In 2016, only five states issued the death penalty, Alabama included. However, the number of executions nationwide dropped to their lowest in almost two decades, states the report.
The report says that with only several days left in 2016, there has been a 39 percent drop registered in executions, ten percentage points less than the previous record of 49 percent registered in 2015. Also, for 2017, the study says judges have passed only 30 new death sentences nationwide. Furthermore, no state has imposed ten or more death sentences this year, the findings show.
Among the states which imposed more than one death sentence, California is responsible for the most capital punishments passed by its judges, with nine felons on death row, followed closely by Ohio with five, and Texas with four. Alabama judges agreed to only three death sentences this year, and Florida comes in 5th with only two inmates on death row.
The Death Penalty Information Center says that Alabama has registered the fewest death sentences since the capital punishment has been reinstated in the late 1970s. Since then, the number of inmates executed by the state has varied with most death sentences carried out in 1998, when 25 inmates knew their end in prison. However, since then, Alabama kept its death sentences under ten for the past decade.
Officials say that the study’s findings may point to the United States’ movement away from the capital punishment. Ultimately, the survey notes that the public starts to grow skeptical of the death penalty by the year and courts of law are striking down outlier practices that have led to a rise in the number of executions lately.
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